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Last Updated: Wednesday August 13 2008 12:44 GMT

Olympic Diaries: Campbell Walsh

Campbell Walsh
Campbell Walsh

The Olympic Games get going later this year in Beijing, China.

Team GB is sending a strong team, hoping to win more medals than four years ago when the Games were held in Athens, Greece.

As the opening ceremony gets closer, Sportsround is finding out about the Games from five people taking part in the event.


KAYAKING - CAMPBELL WALSH

ENTRY FIVE

Unfortunately Campbell failed to make it through to the final of his event. Sonali caught up with him after he missed out.

Sonali: Campbell you must be gutted.

Campbell: Er, yeah, disappointed. I'll probably be more disappointed later. I don't really think I did too much wrong in the way in the preparation or the plans or certainly not how I attacked the run.

I went with an attitude of trying to win and sometimes you paddle a bit on the edge and I pushed it a little bit tight at one point and the water didn't really go my way. And that happens in our sport and there's a lot of other big names who didn't get through either. You've got to deal with that sometime that happens for us.

Sonali: Like you say there are ups and downs in sport. How do you pick yourself up from something this?

Campbell: Well, quite often you have another race coming up in a week or two's time but that's the end of the international season there, so I've got to have a little break, re-build and look to next season. The next big race is on home water - the European Championships next year in Nottingham - so I guess try and focus on that one to get back in the boat training again.

Sonali: So you're definitely going to be in Nottingham?

Campbell: I'm fully planning to keep in the sport and keep training, yeah.

Sonali: Is there anything that Sportsround can do to make you feel better?

Campbell: Er - give me a hug!

Sonali: That I can do! Now, all the Sportsround viewers have been reading your blog and have been kind of going through this with you - is there anything you want to say to them?

Campbell: I've no idea!

Sonali: Sorry, I've put you on the spot there!

Campbell: ... erm ... Always do your best - I try to do my best there and did so there but it didn't quite come off. I guess I can't be too disappointed. I went off with a winning attitude and tried to go with it and it just didn't happen.

Sonali: What's it been like being here in Beijing?

Campbell: It's been good so far. I've been staying with the rowers, they're a big team and I've really enjoyed that - lots of new people to meet. I'll be going into the Olympic Village and enjoying the atmosphere there. I'm sure that will be fun as well.

Sonali: I was going to say, are you going to see any other Olympic events and make use of the fact you're here?

Campbell: Yeah, I've got a few tickets. I'll see some athletics in the big Birds Next Stadium. BMX'll be interesting - first time in the Games and that will be exciting.


ENTRY FOUR

I've been based in Beijing for a while now. It's hot and very humid! Training in these conditions is quite tough and I have been adopting as many cooling techniques as possible - these include iced drinks, iced towels and even iced jackets.

My flight was very comfortable and passed without incident. Thankfully all my bags and equipment arrived safely too. I'm not staying at the Olympic Village but a hotel next to where I'll be competing.

Campbell Walsh's Olympic pillow
When I arrived in my room it was nice to find the Team GB logo embroidered onto the pillows and bedsheets!

I'm pleased everything has been going really well. I've been paddling faster and with more consistency than before. It's a very difficult white-water course but I'm ready for the challenge!


ENTRY THREE

My big race is fast approaching. I leave for Beijing very soon and I can't wait to get out there!

At this point in the season, I'm not going to get much fitter or stronger so now it's all about maintaining what I've already got and sharpening up - both physically and mentally.

I'm trying to make sure I rest well between training sessions so I can put every ounce of effort into what I do when I'm on the water.

In canoe slalom the margins are really tight, so it's important that I pay attention to the small technical details.

Is my equipment all in order? Am I getting enough sleep, eating the right foods and drinking enough water? Should I have gone six inches more to the left on gate 14?!

Out of the water, I had an enjoyable afternoon collecting my Olympic kit. It looks amazing!

We have got so much but my favourite item is Team GB's official suit. As a canoeist I don't wear formal clothes to work so it's a novelty for me. I like any occasion where I can dress smartly in a shirt and tie!


ENTRY TWO

I finished seventh at the World Cup race in Prague last weekend - not bad, but not as good as I wanted. I was quite fast, but frustratingly I hit two of the slalom poles towards the end of my final run.

You get a two second penalty for every pole you hit, so I had four seconds added to my time. This made a big difference, knocking me from a possible second place to seventh. But of course, the aim of the sport is to go fast AND not hit the poles!

I am now in Beijing, China, training on the the whitewater course that will host the Olympic Games in August.

The whitewater here is much more difficult because the water is a lot faster and the waves much bigger - it's quite spectacular!

It is very important for me to practise on this course in preparation for the Olympic Games. I have also been trying a new boat that is slightly different from the one I have been using. Hopefully I will use this new one to race at the Olympics.


ENTRY ONE

I'm off to Prague to compete in a canoe slalom World Cup event this weekend.

I'm on my 15th flight to either train or compete this year!

I do miss people back home but I don't think I would rather be doing anything else. It's what is required if you want to get to the top of the sport.

Canoe Slalom is all about getting from the top to the bottom of a river in as fast a time as possible.

Campbell Walsh
Campbell Walsh

You've also got a pole you have to weave around.

The most important thing in preparation for the Beijing Olympics is training time on the course in Beijing.

I'm going to China next week and I'll have another week or two there before the Games.


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